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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Is Your Brand Identity as Cool as Zappos?

    Posted by Inbound Marketing Agents

    Guest Post: Performance Metrics Matter


    It seems traditional marketing increasingly turns customers away in today's Yelp and social media-obsessed world. Advertising, PR and other promotional spending falls on deaf ears while bad messages travel further, much faster. This has really made companies take a second look at how they review and approach their marketing budget. Could a Zappos-level of customer service provide a better return on investment?

    “Zappos invests in the call center not as cost, but the opportunity to market,” Joseph Michelli explained to me recently. He authored a whole book on the concept, called “The Zappos Experience.” This has resulted in as much as 75 percent of their sales coming from return customers, who spend on average 2.5 times more than first timers.

    So how do you create this Zappos-like culture? It starts with the basics – performance metrics.

    Reward the Wow Moments

    Making the customer feel appreciated is a priority for Zappos. They do this by grading calls on a 100-point scale they call the “Happiness Experience Form.” Every agent is expected to maintain a 50-point average or higher. This score is based on several factors, including:

    • Whether or not the CSR tried to create a personal emotional connection with the caller

    • Whether or not the CSR continued the conversation if the customer responded positively

    • Whether or not the CSR identified and responded to the customer's unstated needs

    • And whether or not the CSR gave a “wow” experience or went above and beyond

    Customer service creates an environment of one-to-one communication. That intimacy creates a special opportunity to build a relationship as opposed to a top of mind impression through advertising,” Michelli said.

    At the end of the month, management identifies agents with less than a 50-point average on the Happiness Experience Form. Those agents receive extra training. Top performers are rewarded with paid hours off and other incentives.

    Why You Should Care About Idle Chats

    Zappos also monitors “abandonment time,” or periods when an agent has a chat session open even though the customer already disconnected from the chat. The reason this is so important is two-fold:

    Idle chats are a symptom of chat avoidance, defined as the agent purposefully creating conditions so they don't have to respond. Second, when agents aren’t responding customers wait longer. The longer they wait, the more apt they are to abandon the session. This strategy zeroes in on the cause of unproductivity in the chat setting without deterring CSRs from expressing the values in the Happiness Experience Form.

    Measuring Call Quantities

    Zappos’s longest call on record lasted more than eight hours, and guess what? This interaction was lauded by leadership as a stellar example of serving the customer.

    “It’s more important that we make an emotional connection with the customer, rather than just quickly getting them off the phone,” says Derek Carder, customer loyalty operations manager for Zappos.

    Instead of valuing quick time to resolution or processing high call volumes, Zappos looks at the percentage of time an agent spends on the phone. Every agent is expected to spend 80 percent of their time on the phone, in chat or in an email response. This metric is a way to empower the team and to utilize time in a way that best promotes customer loyalty.

    Improving Performance Through Attendance

    Absenteeism can be a huge detractor from your customer service productivity. Zappos uses a program they call Panda to combat this trend. Employees receive a point for every day they miss work or come in late. Staff with zero points in a given period receive a varying number of paid hours off. These hours can be accrued and stacked for an entire paid day off. This decreases the days missed by employees, but also increases job satisfaction.

    Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net/jscreationzs

    Performance Metrics are a big part of our corporate culture here at Inbound Marketing Agents. That's why we were thrilled to hear from Ashley Furness, a Market Analyst with Sofware Advice, who offered this guest post. Stay tuned in the future for more insight on how brands inspire employees towards greatness

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    Topics: Social Media